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Header image for article ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Sample Footage

ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Sample Footage

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out the ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses for myself and shoot some demo footage. With these lenses, ZEISS has modified the lens coating to give a slightly warmer look with the ability to create, and most importantly control, flares all while maintaining the sharpness and contrast that ZEISS is known for.

Often, a unique look can be created by pairing older vintage lenses with newer digital cameras, but frequently those lenses don’t hold up to modern needs. On top of that, most vintage lenses only cover Super 35mm. So if you’re working on a full format project it can be difficult to add character through lens choice. The new ZEISS Supreme Radiance lenses, however, provide a unique look while still delivering state of the art technologies. I paired them with the Sony VENICE to see what I could create. Watch my footage, above, and then dive into my findings below.

Contrast

Typically, lenses with a lot of “character” can’t maintain contrast. However, these lenses maintain the dynamic range of the sensor and can even bring out details in the shadows and mid-tones. I was even able to preserve detail in the highlights.

Flares

Under normal lighting conditions, the Prime Radiance lenses render like state-of-the-art, modern lenses. However, under proper lighting conditions, one of their main features is the ability to control consistent flares. Here, I experimented with the different flares I could achieve for different looks. Even the longer lenses provided nice flares and most importantly remained consistent with the wider glass. The blue, circular, flares have lots of character, and the ability to create controlled and consistent flares throughout a project is incredibly important. This gives you the ability to use flares as part of the story.

Skin Tone

The skin tones are softer and warmer than the Supremes, which lends a more natural look that really captivates you.

Sharpness

Unlike older vintage glass, the ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses maintain the sharpness of the Supreme Primes, yet in such a way that is organic and natural. In the days of extremely high resolution, too much sharpness can be unappealing and too scientific. The Radiance lenses instead maintain enough sharpness for today's digital demands, but with the softness we all crave. The roll off between focused elements and out of focus elements is also very smooth.

Geoff Smith
Camera Technology Specialist, AbelCine NY

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Intro image for article The Unique Character of ZEISS Supreme Radiance
Tech News
Since their introduction in 2018, ZEISS full format Supreme Primes have been a hit with filmmakers. Now, they have announced a new variant, with a look that is a bit of a departure from what we've come to expect from ZEISS. Enter the Supreme Prime Radiance.
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